Organisers left thrilled inaugural Hampshire Grand Prix

Wessex Ladies (blue) take on South Hants Ladies (red) in the Hampshire Grand Prix
Wessex Ladies (blue) take on South Hants Ladies (red) in the Hampshire Grand Prix
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Roy Evenden, nine, in action for Portsmouth City. Picture: Habibur Rahman (170015-297)

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FIVE teams from across the Solent region played out a dramatic inaugural Hampshire Ladies Grand Prix.

Victory overall went to Team Southampton Ladies as they survived a late flurry from Forza Solent Ladies to be crowned champions.

The Grand Prix was designed to enable teams who play at local league the chance to assess whether they want to compete at national league level

Ashley Cullen

Fixtures have taken place over the last few months.

The tournament was set up to give local teams the chance to assess whether they want to compete at national league level.

The final matches of the series took place at Bay House School, in Gosport, on Sunday.

Bay House recently installed a new wooden surface that enables two games to be played simultaneously.

Solent were in good form and won three of their first four matches.

Their final game was a title decider against Southampton, who had a two-point advantage going into the match from the previous three rounds.

In a tense affair, Southampton held out for a draw against Solent and won the tournament with 38 points, with a points difference of plus 12.

They also lost just one game out of their 16.

South Hants Ladies drew two of their final four matches on the day and finished third with 34 points.

Wessex, based in Poole, and New Forest finished fourth and fifth with 27 points and 25 points respectively.

Ashley Cullen, Hampshire Volleyball Association chairman, was left delighted with how the first Grand Prix went.

He said that the competition had been a superb insight into the volleyball talent in the region.

And he is looking forward to the competition next year.

‘The Grand Prix was designed to enable teams who play at local league the chance to assess whether they want to compete at national league level,’ said Cullen.

‘This is an excellent development opportunity.

‘It further provides both coaches and players the environment to play multiple matches at each event and they can work on different combinations and individual lessons learned.

‘Bay House School is an excellent facility.

‘The Grand Prix allows two matches to be played simultaneously providing spectators the opportunity to witness an excellent standard of volleyball.

‘We hope this will encourage more teams to enter next season and beyond, to provide a springboard for developing volleyball in this country generally.’

Southampton player-coach Julia Thompson was awarded most valuable player of the tournament by organisers for her excellent attitude and great technique.

Julia also nominated Kri Muller as her team’s best player.

South Hants’ Lana Attwood was voted as her side’s best player while Helen Snaith of Forza Solent picked up the prize for her respective outfit.